Your sweet pooch is growing up quickly, and it’s time to transition from puppy to adult dog food.
The only problem is that you are not sure how to do it successfully.
Does it sound familiar?
Then read below for five tips on how to switch from puppy to adult food.
How to Successfully Transition from puppy to adult Food?
Puppies grow remarkably fast and they before you know it they are so big that you can’t carry them around the house as before.
As the puppy matures, his metabolism changes as well as his nutritional needs. As a result, switching to adult food becomes a necessity.
However, the transition should be done when your puppy is ready. Otherwise, you risk future health problems.
Here is how to do the transition from puppy to adult food successfully.
#1 Understand the difference between puppy and adult dog food
Puppies need special puppy food because they have different nutritional needs than adult dogs.
The young ones require a lot more calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals to sustain proper bone growth.
In addition to this, adult dog food has big kibbles suitable for a grown-up dog.
A puppy might have difficulties chewing these kibbles, and they can hurt his delicate baby teeth. Not to mention that the young one might gobble down his food and choke.
That’s why puppies shouldn’t eat adult dog food.
However, once Fluffy grows up, he doesn’t need such rich-in-calorie food anymore.
Yes, you can continue to feed Fluffy puppy food, but since his calorie intake is not as high as before, it might lead to weight gain and obesity.
What’s more, obesity and fast growth might contribute to conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia, which are common problems for a lot of breeds.
#2 Consider your dog’s breed and size
As a rule of thumb, your puppy is ready for adult food when he is about 80% of his adult size.
By that time, Fluffy is not growing as much as before, and his metabolism is slowing down. So, adult food is more suitable than the puppy one.
However, when a dog reaches maturities depends on his breed and size.
While your dog might look all grow up to you at six months, Fluffy might still be a puppy who needs calorie-rich food.
I’m going to give you an average estimate of when different dog breeds reach maturity:
- Tiny breeds (toy and teacup)– 6-7 months
- Small dogs (under 20-25 pounds when fully matured) – 9-11 months
- Medium dogs (up to 50 pounds when matured) – 12-14 months
- Large dog breeds (50-75 pounds) – 15-18 months
- Giant dog breeds – 18-24 months
As you can see, some dogs might need up to two years to reach maturity.
However, these are only guidelines, and your pooch might be ready for the transition sooner or later.
#3 Watch out for signs that your dog is ready
Once your dog’s metabolism starts to slow down, you’re going to notice some signs. They will help you understand that your puppy is ready for adult dog food.
When your dog matures, he doesn’t have the same energy level as a young puppy.
So, he doesn’t need as many calories as before, and the calorie-dense puppy food satiates Fluffy quickly.
That’s why you’ll notice that your dog is not emptying his bowl, skipping meals or eating less than before.
If you have already transitioned to adult food, these signs might mean that you have to correct your feeding schedule or how much you feed your dog.
Of course, a complete lack of appetite should be addressed by a veterinarian immediately.
#4 Switch the food slowly
One of the rookie mistakes dog owners do is that they change their dog’s food suddenly. Then they wonder why their pooch is vomiting or has diarrhea.
To avoid gastrointestinal discomfort, you should gradually switch the puppy food with the adult one.
Follow these steps:
- Start by mixing a small amount of adult food with the puppy one.
- Do it for a couple of days to ensure your dog won’t have stomach problems.
- Increase the adult food amount and decrease the puppy food.
- Repeat these steps until you have transitioned from puppy to adult food completely. It usually takes the dog around two weeks to adjust to the new food.
Since puppies and dogs have favorite tastes, you might want to avoid buying adult food in bulk until you’ve determined that your dog is satisfied with the taste.
In addition to this, always purchase high-quality dog food, which doesn’t contain meat meal, chemical additives, artificial colors, and gluten.
#5 Feed the right amount of adult dog food
“Am I feeding my dog enough?”
That’s one of those questions you can’t but ask yourself when you watch the pleading eyes of your pooch. And it doesn’t have a definite answer.
To determine how much to feed your dog, you must take into account:
- Your dog’s breed and size
- The type of food – wet or dry
- The quality of the food
Usually, puppies require at least three feeding a day. A grown-up dog needs two meals a day, but it depends on his energy level and size.
Logically, a teacup dog will eat less than a big dog like a Newfoundland.
The best advice I can give you is to use the feeding recommendation on the label.
If your dog seems hungry all the time, you can increase the amount, but you should observe his weight closely.
Once you’ve started feeding adult food, do not go back to puppy one or you risk upsetting your dog’s tummy.
Puppy food is also not recommended as a treat. If you have extra dog food, you might give it to a friend or donate it to somebody in need.